How One Person Managed To Thwart And Delay The Death Penalty For Years In California Through Her Lies And Perjury
[posted by Justin Levine]
And while I have no reason to think that Ken Starr was directly involved in this, I refuse to believe he is completely innocent either. I suspect he had an “ostrich head in the sand”-style reckless indifference to truth because he wanted to believe what his own investigator was telling him.
Ken Starr employs someone who is essentially a perjurer who has no respect for the rule of law in order to save his client – how is that for ironic?
Caught faking documents to defend the guy that raped and beat to death, with a hammer, a 17 year old girl.Nick T (7b1eb7) — 8/23/2007 @ 5:23 pm
Kathleen Culhane lied to protect Vincente Benavides, who raped and sodomized 21-month-old Consuelo Verdugo so brutally that several of her internal organs were “cracked in half.” Consuelo lingered for 8 days and, undoubtedly, suffered a horrible death.DRJ (bfe07e) — 8/23/2007 @ 6:17 pm
I agree about Starr. The buck stopped with him. Did anyone report him to the state bar? They should. He is responsible to supervise the people who work for him.
Also, Culhane doesn’t get it. Her whining that defense attys cooperated with her prosecution is unreal. But because she is a moonbat and moonbats take care of their own, she will have a job and a place to live when she gets out of the joint. Than again, with her perjury conviction and reputation, any atty who hired her to do work is risking their bar card.sam (46ac9e) — 8/23/2007 @ 6:19 pm
As for Ken Starr or his co-counsel, David Senior, they should be punished if they knew or had reason to suspect that Kathleen Culhane was fabricating evidence. I have no idea if they did but don’t you think Culhane did everything she could to cover her tracks? Her goal was to frustrate and delay the justice system and that would reasonably include deceiving defendants’ counsel, too.DRJ (bfe07e) — 8/23/2007 @ 6:28 pm
Next thing you know we’ll find out she helped in Republican registration drives.kishnevi (01ba98) — 8/23/2007 @ 6:32 pm
Or pre-war intelligence.alphie (015011) — 8/23/2007 @ 6:52 pm
These twits finally got caught. It is important to get this this story out, as the public needs to be reminded….as do currrent and recently graduated law students and assorted support personnel on both sides of the room.Andrew (19d2f3) — 8/23/2007 @ 7:05 pm
The sad part of this is that in our adversarial system, it is supposed to be the one truth that everyone on both sides act in truthful and ethical ways. Yet, when one side gets “philosophical” about what the truth or ethics is, both sides lose. When those who think that this form of lawlessness is acceptable get away with it, it allows for those who think someone like Michael Vick shouldn’t be prosecuted, or his crime diminished because of some “philosophical” belief.
The law should be followed because without that, we have the worst form of democracy: whoever can cheat the best wins.reff (f3109d) — 8/23/2007 @ 9:35 pm
I think the fact she was coming up with all these affadavits in and of itself should have been the major tip off to Starr to check the veracity of at least one of them.sam (46ac9e) — 8/24/2007 @ 1:56 am
I found it disgusting (though not surprising) that two of the commenters at the linked Mercury News article actually supported what Culhane did.
If you have a problem with law enforcement or the death penalty, the ends (lying) must justify the means.Sean M. (588113) — 8/24/2007 @ 2:05 am
Sad story about Starr indeed. But it reveals about some of the problems with lawyers in general (not all lawyers, not even a guess at the percentages).voiceofreason (583d2e) — 8/24/2007 @ 3:41 am
It will happen again at some point I’m sure.
“99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name…”
🙂Scott Jacobs (c0db90) — 8/24/2007 @ 5:20 am
Tragic, I mean, it’s not like guilt or anything silly like that might have played a part in that process.
But, since the article notes that ‘she got away with it for years’ actual evidence of guilt doesn’t seem to be a problem for her.
Given that her acts were directly intended to subvert the entire system she seems to have gotten off lightly.ThomasD (9e8a29) — 8/24/2007 @ 7:09 am
First, the only “new news” in the article is that Culhane was sentenced last week in connection with the felonies she pled guilty to.
The MSNBC article about Starr is 19 months old. I suspect that if there was any additional incriminating evidence implicating Starr, it would have been reported as part of this new story.
Second, its my recollection that Senior hired Culhane to work on the case before Starr agreed to assist Senior with the clemeny proceedings. If my recollection is correct, the reason the accusations against Starr lost their steam was that the fake affidavits were already done and in Senior’s possesion before Starr started assisting. I think it would be a stretch to say that a new lawyer coming into assist another has an obligation to fact-check every document in the file.wls (aad074) — 8/24/2007 @ 7:57 am
To believe Starr had any complicity in this you have to believe he lacks the scruples to practice law, but he doesn’t lack them enough to watch a worthless POS muderer die to preserve his ticket and his good name.
I can’t see why he would put himself in that position to spare the trash he was supposedly protecting from the needle, but then I can’t see him being any part of this in the first place.spongeworthy (45b30e) — 8/24/2007 @ 8:39 am
only 5 years for potentially undermining the state’s legal system?Techie (c003f1) — 8/24/2007 @ 10:57 am
So you guys who are in enforcement positions – I presume that you call up witnesses and do quality control interviews in every case, carefully comparing what the cops/agents say against what the witnesses say? I don’t mean comparing notes during hearings and what not, I mean fact checking relatively insignificant documents and notes? Just out of curiosity, if you do that, how do they react the next time you ask them to do some work for you?
Yep, it would be nightmarish if I went to court and offered documents that later turned out to contain false statements, or that were fabricated by an investigator. I’ve worked both sides of the aisle, but have found that if there’s a basic level of trust of the investigator, whether defense side or enforcement side, it doesn’t seem to be a great use of my time to redo the work investigators have done, especially with respect to relatively minor documents, unless there is something that raises a red flag.
What I know of Ken Starr is he’s an honorable man and a good attorney. But then maybe I’m liable for reckless behavior in making that judgment, too.Al Maviva (89d0b6) — 8/24/2007 @ 11:01 am
I wasn’t aware that an affadavit was an insignificant document…
But I agree about Starr, at least somewhat. The bogus papers were put in before he came on. It’s not unreasobable to assume the guy working the case before you looked into them.Scott Jacobs (c0db90) — 8/24/2007 @ 11:08 am
Good post, Al Maviva. You should be able to trust your subordinates. Of course, some due diligence is required so that your faith is not misplaced — especially if your own butt is ultimately on the line.
DRJ, thank you for the link about Vincente Benavides. It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that people could commit acts of such depravity. Why in the world would Culhane believe this subhuman is worthy of mercy.lc (1401be) — 8/24/2007 @ 11:46 am
Are affidavits important? It all depends, Scott. A number of years ago I did some capital appellate work where the file I received constituted a half dozen boxes of supporting documents like affidavits and lab reports and so forth, and the trial record – the transcript and admitted documents – ran to 20 or 24 boxes. I was really pleased with myself for being able to carefully cite check the briefs and fact check them against the record – I detected a number of errors (let’s be charitable and chalk them up as mistakes) attributable to the death penalty litigation center folks, and that was about all I could manage. As I recall one expert report, a couple studies on cognition, and a handful of pages in the trial record were key, and I really didn’t go checking the veracity of all the other stuff submitted. Keep in mind, this was putting a couple hundred pro bono hours on the line over a two month period – you have to focus on what is relevant, and I chose to not double check every document in the records we trucked to the Court of Appeals. I hesitate to throw stones at Starr, especially in light of the fact that he signed on long after the affidavits were in the record. If the affidavits were central to the case and he based his argument around them, then perhaps he should have investigated and re-interviewed the witnesses; on the other hand if he received a bunch of boxes and the affidavits were part of the case, but had been admitted/used in an earlier, lower court proceeding, he probably wouldn’t do an independent investigation of them. On appeal, you generally argue based on the record; de novo materials don’t often come in after trial and the initial hearings attacking the trial results and procedure.Al Maviva (89d0b6) — 8/24/2007 @ 12:44 pm
Al Maviva — on the enforcement side, the answer is to a significant degree, no — I don’t spend a lot of time double-checking the facts and statements of witnesses reflected in various reports and memoranda, at least not until it looks like a case is going to go to trial.
If a trial looks likely, then I will lay out my case based on the reports that I have, and being to interview witnesses in advance of trial to confirm what they told the agents, or to follow-up with additional questions I might have based on other evidence.WLS (077d0d) — 8/24/2007 @ 1:37 pm
The affidavits were important. That they were too good to be true and so numerous, again, should have been the tip off. Starr put his name to that piece of crap, he’s responsible for the work of subordinates, and he should have received some censure.sam (77ad58) — 8/24/2007 @ 1:49 pm
Have you read them?
How do you know they were “too good to be true”?
For what purpose was Starr brought on board by Senior?
Answer some questions about what Starr’s role was in the matter, and then you can opine about whether or not Starr failed to live up to his responsibility.
Or, do you just not like Starr?WLS (077d0d) — 8/24/2007 @ 1:58 pm
***snark alert***Another Drew (8018ee) — 8/24/2007 @ 6:08 pm
Of course Ken Starr is culpable in this matter. He is, of course, Ken Starr; and, he had the temerity to actually investigate, and bring, a case against one of the Lib-Lefts’ Gods.
To be “drawn-and-quartered” would just be the starting point.
I see where the euroweenie union is urging texas to end the death penalty. Well frankly the lone star state should tell the euroweenie union to TAKE A HIKEkrazy kagu (5e1710) — 8/25/2007 @ 10:54 am